The use of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS), more commonly known as e-cigarettes, or vaping, has significantly increased over the past few years. ENDS are considered tobacco products because they deliver nicotine derived from tobacco. No matter how it’s delivered, nicotine is addictive and the use of ENDS is a gateway to the use of other tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars, hookah, and smokeless tobacco—especially among youth. NYC Smoke-Free is committed to protecting New Yorkers, especially youth, from being lured into a lifetime of nicotine addiction.
Despite a steady decline in cigarette use among youth in New York State, ENDS use among adolescents is increasing dramatically — 160% between 2014 – 2018. The use of ENDS is higher among NY high school students than adults, with 43.8% of students reporting having tried e-cigarettes. According to NYC DOHMH’s 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 45,000 NYC high school have used e-cigarettes or other vaping product; this is more than double those who report smoking conventiona cigarettes.
The tobacco industry is using manipulative and predatory marketing tactics to advertise e-cigarettes and other ENDS products to young people to lure them into becoming the next generation of smokers. These products are heavily marketed using approaches that were banned for cigarettes in the 1990s to tackle youth-targeted marketing. Tactics include attractive flavors, celebrity endorsements, alluring branding with words like “candy,” and fun designs that resemble toys.
As a fairly new type of product, there is no long-term research into the health effects of using ENDS. It is falsely believed that the use of e-cigarettes is less harmful than conventional smoking. However, nicotine in any form is highly addictive and harmful. These products produce chemical-containing aerosols, which can cause eye and respiratory irritation, as well as airway constriction. ENDS can contain flavorants including Diacetyl, which is life-threatening when heated up, and is linked to lung diseases like Popcorn Lung. They also include volatile organic compounds and heavy metals, such as nickel, tin, and lead. Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems represent an evolution in a long history of tobacco products in the United States. The popularity of e-cigarettes and other ENDS products has the potential to damage NYC’s hard-earned progress in comprehensive tobacco control and efforts in ending the deadly tobacco epidemic.